Finding A Home In Construction

Angela Floyd, CFO at DPR Construction
© AdobeStock
CFO Angela Floyd found the right culture fit in a surprising place for a female leader: the construction industry.

Angela Floyd started her career with a Big Four accounting firm and along the way worked for an airline and a nonprofit. But despite the fact most people don’t connect women in leadership with construction, Floyd didn’t find the right culture fit until she entered the construction industry. She was named CFO of DPR Construction, a Redwood City, California-based company with close to $6 billion in 2022 revenue, in January.

Floyd spoke with StrategicCFO360 about the importance of a people-first approach, creating the right pace for growth and what she’s doing to retain talent.

What led you to the construction industry? Tell us more about your career trajectory. What has kept you here? 

My path to the construction industry was ultimately the best career move I have made. I’ve worked in a lot of industries where the poster on the wall says, “it’s all about our people.” In the construction industry, it really is all about the people. 

When I started my career, I worked with a Big Four accounting firm. It was a great place to learn a lot—quickly. I worked directly with clients across various industries with unique and different challenges. My next stop was a global not-for-profit, and I learned how to report to a board of directors and what it means to have a purpose and a mission that has nothing to do with making money but rather serving others.

I then moved to Dallas and worked for an airline, where I led larger teams, interfaced with travel and transportation clients, and helped airlines manage through the aftermath of 9-11 in 2001 and beyond.  

One day, I got a call from a headhunter to meet the CFO at a national construction company. The meeting was filled with energy. At the construction company, I moved out of the traditional finance role and started to work on supporting the longer-term strategy. I worked with smart, humble leaders who treated the employees as family. I also learned what it means to have to pivot and manage through a significant economic recession.

After 10+ years there, and changes in leadership, I was beginning to think about my next career move when I received a call from DPR. Could I get lucky twice in the same industry? I did! DPR has developed a culture that brings great people together to form great teams that build great things. We weave our strong sense of purpose and core values into everything we do. It’s this culture and outstanding community that have allowed me to bring all my experiences to DPR and build upon them. I’m excited about the future and what’s yet to come.  

Corporate culture is key to employee retention. When you talk about culture at your company and to your employees, what are some of the things you emphasize?

For us, culture starts with taking care of people. It’s truly about empowering our workforce, in particular our project teams, who are building great things for our customers.

For example, in the last year we launched the DPR Culture Con Roadshow to create a deeper cultural connection and conversation with our teammates. In the spirit of open and honest communication, every employee was invited to an in-person forum to (re)connect to our culture and to ask questions to a panel of local, regional and companywide leadership. No question or topic was off limits. 

We also made sure that each session had live, simultaneous Spanish translation so that our Spanish-speaking employees had the option of listening and speaking in the language of their heart. This was rolled out nationwide and enabled us to connect with thousands of employees.  

By connecting people through Culture Con and receiving feedback, we were able to implement a suite of improvements, including comprehensive benefits packages for our skilled trades that prioritize health and well-being and provide resources to plan for the future.

When we ask someone “What makes DPR a place where you want to work and build your career?”  It doesn’t matter if the person has been with us six months or 20 years, the answer is the same—it’s because folks are treated like family.  We support and we care about each other.  

In terms of company growth, how do you find the right pace of growth, both in terms of people and financially?

The key wording here is strategic growth, rather than growth just for the sake of growth. It’s about finding the right pace, where we can preserve our cultural core and maintain a local, small-company feel while also continuing to advance. It’s about being a better version of ourselves rather than a bigger version.

As a construction company, we are looking at the long term. Everything we do in finance and accounting is based around a fiscal year. It’s a 12-month period. However, the reality is most of our construction projects don’t fit within a 12-month cycle. They may take two years, three years or even longer.

Projects we’re awarded today are built in the future, so we must always be looking ahead for what resources are required to support that work. We must make sure we have the best people who have been trained and developed with the best tools and processes to deliver on our commitments.

You’ve been quoted as saying, “As an industry leader, we have an obligation to do things well and to do them right, because we are in a position to influence not only the industry but also purpose-driven organizations.” Can you elaborate on that—how can companies be the drivers of global social responsibility?

DPR is a purpose-driven organization: We exist to build great things. At DPR, we’ve already seen the difference we can make through events like Construction Inclusion Week, and our ongoing commitment to environmental health and safety, mental wellness and taking care of people.

In large studies such as the Edelman Trust Barometer, companies continue to be the most trusted source of information in the U.S. and are seen as drivers of social change. At DPR, I’m proud to say that our global social responsibility pillars—DEI, sustainability, supplier diversity, and community involvement—are priorities, and our dedicated GSR team serves as a touchpoint for all our employees to develop a sense of belonging, environmental stewardship and community engagement.

One way we are increasing engagement is by hosting monthly internal webinars, known as Pillar Talks. These are discussions on topics that celebrate heritage months, supplier diversity, community involvement and sustainability. Our Pillar Talks are making a great impact, are currently attended by nearly 25 percent of our employees, and serve as a launching point for our employee resource groups, a critical element in creating a culture of inclusion and a workplace that supports diversity of backgrounds, thoughts and perspectives.

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